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Thomas Gudinas

Florida Death Row Inmate


Thomas Gudinas

Thomas Gudinas

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Thomas Gudinas and three of his roommates arrived at an Orlando bar, Barbarella’s, between approximately 8:30 and 9:00 p.m. on May 23, 1994.

Prior to arriving at the bar, the group drank beer and smoked marijuana at their apartment and in the car on the way to the bar. While drinking throughout the night, the group periodically returned to the car to smoke marijuana.

When the bar closed at 3:00 a.m., Gudinas could not be located. One of Gudinas’ roommates testified that he last saw Gudinas at approximately 1:00 a.m.

Rachelle Smith and her fiancé arrived at Barbarella’s between 11:00 and 11:30 p.m. on the same night. When they left the bar at approximately 2:00 a.m., Smith went to the wrong parking lot, where she saw a man later identified as Gudinas, watching her while crouched behind another car.

Realizing she was in the wrong parking lot, Smith walked to the correct parking lot and found her car. Smith sensed she was being followed, so she immediately entered the car and locked the doors.

The same man who was watching Smith earlier tried to open her passenger door, then tried to smash the driver’s side window, screaming “I want to f___ you.” Smith blew her car horn and the man left. Smith later identified Gudinas in a police photo lineup as the man who tried to attack her.

Michelle McGrath was last seen at Barbarella’s at approximately 2:45 a.m. She left her car in the same parking lot where Smith initially saw Gudinas.

McGrath’s body was discovered the next day in an alley next to Pace School. McGrath’s body was naked, except for a bra which was pushed up above her breasts. Her body had several blunt force traumas to the head and evidence of sexual assault. The body also had trauma to the cervix and rectum, which was determined to have resulted from the insertion of foreign objects into her body. Semen was found inside McGrath’s vagina and on her thigh.

All of Gudinas’ roommates testified that he was not at their apartment when they returned from Barbarella’s. They also testified that Gudinas was later seen with blood on his underwear and scratches on his knuckles. Gudinas attributed his wounds to a fight with two black men who tried to rob him. Two roommates further testified that when asked if McGrath was a “good f___,” Gudinas replied, “I killed her then I f___ed her.”

Source: Florida Commission on Capital Cases

Source: Florida Commission on Capital Cases

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